BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Elon University volleyball improved to 3-0 in true road matches on the young season with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 28-26) victory over Gardner-Webb inside Paul Porter Arena on Tuesday night, Sept. 5.
“It’s always good to get a win on the road and to do it in three sets is even better,” said Elon head coach Mary Tendler. “Gardner-Webb has a bit of a different tempo to some of their outside sets which gave us some challenges, but we adjusted well to them. We hung tough and made some plays in the final set to seal the win like we did in our last match, and that was very good to see heading into our tournament at home this weekend.”
Elon improved to 5-3 on the season. It has now defeated Gardner-Webb nine consecutive times and is the first sweep of the Runnin’ Bulldogs since Aug. 31, 2012, after Gardner-Webb took sets from the Phoenix in each of the previous two meetings. Gardner-Webb dropped to 2-5 through its opening seven matches with the loss.
The two teams went back and forth with the opening 10 points before the Phoenix went on a 7-0 run behind two kills from Courtney Carpenter, one from Sydney Busa and a couple Gardner-Webb errors. After the run, Elon continued to dominate the Runnin’ Bulldogs down the stretch in the opening set, doubling Gardner-Webb up most of the way and winning the final four points to take a 25-14 win.
Gardner-Webb opened the second set winning seven of the first 11 points, but Elon clawed its way back with an 8-4 run to take a 12-11 lead that drew a Gardner-Webb timeout. Following the timeout, the Phoenix continued the run to 11-5 in taking a 15-12 lead, but the Runnin’ Bulldogs made their way back into the set with a 4-1 run to tie it at 16 and used another short 3-1 stretch a few points later to make it 20-18, drawing an Elon timeout. The Phoenix made the most of its break, though, coming out of the timeout with a 6-2 run to take the set 25-22.
Following suit with the second set, Gardner-Webb came out winning four of the opening six points, but Elon squashed the early hope for the Runnin’ Bulldogs with an 8-1 run to go up 10-5. Though Gardner-Webb brought the set back within three on two occasions, Elon kept its opponent at a five point difference for most of the middle part of the set until pulling away to make it an eight-point lead at 23-15. Gardner-Webb made it interesting late with a 10-1 run to earn set point, but Elon fought it off and battled through another set point at 26-25 before winning three straight points thanks to kills from Kam Terry and Elizabeth Coil and an attack error by the Runnin’ Bulldogs that gave Elon a 28-26 win.
Terry led Elon with 15 kills to just four errors, hitting 34.4 percent in the match. Busa also finished with double-digit kills, tallying 14 in the match. She also had four digs, one assist and one ace and now stands 23 kills away from 1,000 in her career. Carpenter had a 46.2 hitting percentage with seven kills and one error on 13 attempts. Both Coil and Nori Thomas had six kills apiece. Thomas also added two digs and a block and Coil had one dig and one block. Kodi Garcia finished with 40 assists, averaging out to a season-best 13.3 per set.
Kaelyn Dyson finished with nine kills to lead the Runnin’ Bulldogs. She had a hitting percentage of 42.1 percent. Maria Emmick added seven kills, four digs and three blocks and Hannah Driscoll finished with a match high five blocks.
After playing seven of the first eight matches of the season away from Alumni Gym, Elon will start a run in which nine of its next 10 will take place at home. It all starts Friday, Sept. 8, when Elon hosts the Phoenix Classic with Charleston Southern, North Carolina Central and Norfolk State coming to town. Elon will play its first match of the weekend Friday against Charleston Southern at 7 p.m. For more information about the Phoenix Classic, click here.